Twinsies: The Internet of Things Doubles Down on a New Kind of Engineer

When human twins arrive on the scene they tend to bring a fair amount of chaos into their parents’ lives. There’s a new kind of twin in town that is set to drive its own brand of disruption. 

Digital twinning is a term used to describe the practice of creating a highly virtual model of something that is an exact replica of a physical thing. It could be a car engine, a highway overpass or a manufacturing production line. Sensors that are connected to the actual physical thing collect important data that is then mapped onto the virtual model, or twin. Rather than having to actually examine the physical object in person, team members in any connected location can access important real-time information about how the object is performing as well as predictions about its future performance. 

Digital twinning can offer manufacturing businesses an unprecedented view into how their products are performing, including identifying potential faults and performing troubleshooting. It can also provide remote team members with aintricate view of a physical asset that might be thousands of miles away. 

The rise of digital twinning is expected to have a huge impact on business. Gartner predicts that by 2021, half of large industrial companies will use digital twins, resulting in those organizations gaining a 10% improvement in effectiveness. 

The increased use of digital twinning technology could drive the need for a new breed of engineer: the Digital Twinning Engineer. In the report2018 Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute Skills Gap and Future of Work Study, Digital Twinning Engineer was included as future work persona to help illustrate what manufacturing jobs could look like within the next decade.  

According to the report’s detailed (and fascinating) job persona, the responsibilities of a Digital Twinning Engineer could include things like: 

  • Using 3D software to create digital twins and run simulations 
  • Using product data to capture insights and design new products and business models 
  • Using machine learning and real-time data to drive continuous improvement 
  • Working with sales and marketing teams to develop customer insights and marketing strategies.

With companies likeGE already offering digital twin software, and other big hitters likeSiemens and Microsoft  investing in digital twin solution development, we expect to see an increase in demand for talent with digital twinning capability. The skillsets these jobs will require will include expertise in machine learning, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and other data-science capabilities.  

These jobs won’t be limited to manufacturing as the benefits of digital twinning could also apply to sectors including health and medicine, insurance, investing, risk analysis, research, transportation, and customer service. 

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Kate Siklosi

Kate Siklosi

Kate Siklosi is the Resident Wordsmith at the Ian Martin Group. In her spare time she's a full-throttle dog-and-cat-mom, an experimental poetry editor, and a fierce oxford comma defender (see what she did there?!).
Kate Siklosi